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Market uptake of existing and emerging renewable electricity, heating and cooling technologies


Specific challenge: The legal framework established by the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC, 'RES Directive')) sets binding targets for all Member States to contribute to the overall 20% target for renewable energy in the EU final energy consumption by 2020, and the 'Energy Roadmap 2050' shows that renewables will have to play a much greater role in all future scenarios beyond 2020. As well as putting in place legal obligations, the RES Directive also makes recommendations for specific actions to be taken by the public and private sectors across the EU.  However, in many areas, it leaves open the ways in which Member States may implement policies and support measures aiming to increase use of renewable energy at national, regional and local level. 

Consequently, although some Member States have already made good progress in incentivising renewable energy, there are still many opportunities for common learning and sharing of best practices on the cost-effective mobilisation of new investments in renewable energy across the EU.  Moreover, such investments contribute to the European 2020 strategy for growth, job creation, industrial innovation, and technological leadership as well as reducing emissions, improving the security of energy supplies and reducing EU’s energy import dependence.

Since the adoption of RES Directive in 2009, most Member States have experienced significant growth in renewable energy consumption. However, currently, we are seeing a deceleration of this growth, partly due to the economic crisis, but also because there are a number of market uptake barriers that remain or persist for both established and innovative renewable energy technologies.

Scope: To ensure the level of growth needed to deliver the EU targets for renewable energy, and to create the appropriate business environment for EU industrial leadership in low-carbon energy technologies, a number of important market-uptake challenges still need to be addressed, notably:

                     Ensuring sustained public acceptance of renewable energy projects and renewable energy overall, while taking into account the implications of the substantial increase in RES share in the final energy consumption;

                     Ensuring speedy and user friendly permitting procedures;

                     Implementing renewable energy policies, codes and legislations at EU, national, regional and local levels in a coordinated manner using best practice examples with significant replication potential;

                     Capacity building and contributing to the further development of renewable energy policy, legislation and regulation, and informing the debate on post-2020 horizons;

                     Capacity building and facilitating the deployment of improved business models and innovative financing schemes for mobilising investments in innovative and established renewable energy systems and services.

Proposals should address one or several of the challenges mentioned above for technologies and systems which are at TRL 7-9 (please see part G of the General Annexes). Regional specificities, socio-economic, spatial and environmental aspects from a life-cycle perspective shall be considered.  For all actions, the consortia should involve and/or engage relevant stakeholders and market actors who are committed to adopting/implementing the results.

For RES electricity, actions which address exchanges of information or cooperation among different actors (e.g. on future business models for aggregators), must demonstrate that they are promoting best practices. Actions which are developing new recommendations or which are contributing to the debate on costs and benefits of specific options must provide quantified indicators of the market impacts of future policy options.

For RES heating and cooling, proposals must demonstrate that they are adopting an integrated approach which fully respects the requirements and recommendations given in the energy efficiency and EPBD directives.  Actions aimed at promoting the use of geothermal, bio and/or solar heating for individual, industrial or district heating applications must involve / engage with the responsible policy makers and regulators as well as industry and potential financing bodies, and must include relevant capacity building and adoption of best practices.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 to 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Increasing the share of renewable electricity, heating and cooling in the final energy consumption. Reductions in the time taken to authorise the construction of renewable energy plants and related infrastructure. Substantial and measurable reductions in the transaction costs for project developers as well as for the permitting authorities, whilst still fully addressing the needs for environmental impact assessments and public acceptance. Development of better policy, regulatory, market support and financing frameworks, including at regional and local level.

Type of action: Coordination and Support Actions